Larsson extension another sign of smart Sunderland business
Sunderland, 5/1 shots to be relegated from next season’s Premier League, have tied out of contract Sweden midfielder Sebastian Larsson down to a new three-year deal, as Gus Poyet continues to do shrewd transfer business.
The 28-year-old is now committed to the Stadium of Light side until the summer of 2017. Larsson has played over 100 league games for the Black Cats and scored nine times.
“I feel that this is a club moving in the right direction and I want to be part of it,” he said. “I had a few options but I want to be at Sunderland and I’m looking forward to the new season.”
One of those options was rumoured to be Hull City – Larsson has been signed twice by current Tigers boss Steve Bruce. He resisted the lure of Europa League football next term, however, and has remained on Wearside where he already has two new teammates.
Right back Billy Jones and advanced midfielder Jordi Gomez will both be at Sunderland in the new season, as Poyet swooped for this out of contract pair from West Brom and Wigan Athletic respectively on free transfers.
In these arrivals, the Black Cats boss has secured replacements for departing duo Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) and Craig Gardner (going the opposite way to Jones).
What Poyet has also got from these quick captures are proven Premier League players too. Gomez had four seasons in England’s top-flight before the Latics were relegated mere days after winning the FA Cup in 2013. Jones, meanwhile, featured 74 times in all competitions during three years at The Hawthorns.
British tabloids and reports in Spain also link Sunderland with Valencia playmaker Ever Banega.
Once a rumoured target of Manchester United, he paid the price for being loaned back to his native Argentina with Newell’s Old Boys in January, following the arrival of Juan Antonio Pizzi as Mestalla manager. Missing out on the World Cup in Brazil was a bitter pill.
A fee, claimed to be £8m, is the valuation the press have quoted for Banega, and under a South American coach like Poyet, who prefers passing and attractive approach play, he could revive his career.
What is abundantly clear from the Black Cats’ transfer dealings this summer so far is they are intent on avoiding another relegation scrap.